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Cooking Vacations in USA

New Orleans is the birthplace of fusion cuisine; before becoming a part of the United States, New Orleans was first a French colony and then a Spanish colony. It has always been a port city, and many waves of immigrants have brought their own flavors to the pot. New Orleans holds tight to its historical, cultural and culinary roots, making it a magical and delicious place to visit. Come and explore New Orleans with the ultimate culinary experience!


  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Visit to a local farmers market
  • Learn all about history, culture, and food from local experts
  • Included donations to Grow Dat Youth Garden and House of Dance and Feathers
  • Get an insider's look into family farms and community gardens
  • Savor local specialties at authentic restaurants
  • 5 nights accommodation


5 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Hotel Provincial, New Orleans French Quarter

In a city distinguished internationally for the charm and hospitality of its venerable French Quarter, there exists a secluded, intimate hotel that offers its guests yet another dimension to the Vieux Carre experience. The Hotel Provincial, although conveniently located near all the desirable historic and tourist attractions of downtown New Orleans, also offers its visitors the serenity and unique style reserved for the private, residential section of the French Quarter.

Guests arriving at the secluded inner courtyard of the Hotel Provincial are transported to a private world of elegance and serenity. The ancient, exposed brick walls, accented by manicured fig ivy espaliers, along with the stunning array of tropical plants, are enchanting.The restored historic structures surrounding the lobby offer tastefully appointed, oversized guest rooms and suites featuring southern antiques and period reproduction furniture.

French Quarter courtyard fountains accent each of the historic lodging buildings, with some rooms offering views of the mighty Mississippi River, while others feature balconies gracing the landscaped pool area, or access to private garden courtyards. But the modern conveniences are not overlooked. The comfort of plush mattresses, feather pillows, and the attention to detail reflected in the soothing hotel color palettes, are just a few of the many guest amenities. Additional in-room conveniences provided include:

  • Air conditioning with individual climate control
  • Alarm clock with iPod / iPhone docking station
  • Convenient data ports
  • Flat-screen HD TV
  • Free cable
  • Free HBO
  • Free high-speed wireless internet access
  • Hairdryers
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Large courtyard
  • Luxurious bedding
  • Tropical patios
  • Two pools
  • Voice mail


Petite suite. Two double beds with a living area in one spacious room. Some with sleeper sofa. Enjoy beautiful views of the intimate courtyards.

Premium king room. One king bed with beautiful views of the intimate courtyards, swimming pool, or the mighty Mississippi River.

Premium room. Two double beds with beautiful views of the intimate courtyards, swimming pool, or the mighty Mississippi River.

Standard king room. Charming room uniquely decorated with antiques and period reproductions. One king bed with limited views.

Standard room. Charming room uniquely decorated with antiques and period reproductions. Two double beds with limited views.

Suite. One king bed with a separate living room, which includes a sofa bed. Enjoy beautiful views of the intimate courtyards, Ursuline Convent, or a unique view of the French Quarter or the mighty Mississippi River.


Day 1

  • Check into Hotel Provincial
  • Meet at the hotels Ice House Bar for a welcome drink and brief orientation
  • Enjoy a horse drawn carriage tour of the French Quarter Carriages
  • Dinner at Donald Links Pche restaurant
  • Authentic New Orleans music show at Preservation Hall Jazz Club

Day 2

  • Take the historic streetcar uptown through the Garden District
  • Explore the farmers market with a local farmer and chef
  • Visit the New Orleans Cooking Experience for a cooking class and lunch
  • Experience Paradigm Gardens for a garden tour, pickling demo, and garden dinner

Day 3

  • Biking tour of beautiful Esplanade Ridge and City Park
  • Beignets and caf au lait at Morning Call
  • Farm tour at Grow Dat Youth Garden
  • Lunch at Liuzzas by the Track
  • Experience the classics with a culinary history and cocktail tour

Day 4

  • Educational session about environmental issues affecting coastal Louisiana
  • Kayaking excursion to a cypress tupelo swamp with Lost Land Tours
  • Savor a bayou, marsh, farm-to-table meal with Mosquito Supper Club
  • Explore music on Frenchmen Street

Day 5

  • Visit The Guerrilla Garden in the Lower 9th Ward and learn about the effects of hurricane Katrina
  • Meet Ronald Lewis of The House of Dance and Feathers
  • Enjoy an authentic BBQ at The Joint
  • Tasting and tour at the Old New Orleans Rum distillery
  • Farewell dinner at Angeline New Orleans

Day 6

  • Fly home with great memories!

Included excursions

Culinary history and cocktail tour of French Quarter

This tour will immerse you in the history of New Orleans while learning how its unique cuisine evolved. Visitors will learn to appreciate the differences between Creole and Cajun cuisine, and will hear of the varied ethnic influences that contribute to New Orleans cuisine.

Esplanade Ridge and City Park

City Park is as magical and unique as the city of New Orleans. The 1300-acre outdoor oasis has enchanted New Orleanians since 1854, making it one of the nations oldest urban parks. Stop and smell the roses in the Botanical Garden. Enjoy art in the open-air Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Stroll through the sprawling green space or get active on the parks biking, jogging, and walking paths. Practice your serve on one of 26 tennis courts or hit the links on City Parks new 18-hole golf course.

Farmers Market tour

Small food producers play a vital role in a healthy local food economy. They live in the community, and their earnings at the market are in turn spent in the community in which they live. Produce sold in the markets has usually been picked the day before, and it travels less than 400 miles to get to your table. Prices are on par or often cheaper than those at grocery stores. Plus, fresh local produce lasts longer.

Garden District

Tradition, opulence, and beauty can all be used to describe New Orleans' historic Garden District. With its well-preserved collection of antebellum mansions, pristine gardens, and southern charm, the Garden District certainly stands out as one of the country's most lovely neighborhoods, and a popular destination for visitors. General boundaries for this famous neighborhood are St. Charles Avenue to Magazine Street and from Jackson Avenue to Louisiana Avenue.

Grow Dat Youth Farm

Located on a seven-acre site in New Orleans' City Park, Grow Dat Youth Farm operates a two-acre sustainable farm. Each year, they grow and harvest an average of 12,000 pounds of fresh produce. Seventy percent is sold at the farm stand and at farmers' markets run by their youth employees, and thirty percent is distributed through the Shared Harvest program, to low-income residents who otherwise have little or no access to fresh food. Grow Dat Youth Farm uses chemical-free farming methods to build a resilient sustainable agricultural system. That means producing food by supporting natural ecological systems and stewarding natural and human resources for the future. The farm does not use chemical-based pesticides or fertilizers. Instead, they utilize techniques such as cover cropping, composting, companion planting, farmscaping and crop rotation to stimulate microbiological activity and soil health.

Horse drawn carriage - French Quarter tour

Experience the sights and sounds of the colorful French Quarter as your mule-drawn carriage takes you back in time to another era. Carlo Gambino will escort you past many landmarks of New Orleans' heritage, including courtyards and iron-laced balconies, famous restaurants and galleries, Bourbon Street, the mighty Mississippi River and, of course, legendary Jackson Square.

Kayaking excursion to cypress tupelo swamp

Although vast areas of south Louisiana cypress and tupelo forests were eliminated by loggers and real estate developers, outdoors enthusiasts can go back in time, paddling kayaks through haunting and mesmerizing forested swamps in the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area about 40 minutes outside the city.

You will learn about the cypress, tupelo, and oak-forested swamps that were in the city before it was drained to develop newer New Orleans neighborhoods. The same neighborhoods that received most of Hurricane Katrinas floodwaters due to lower elevations caused by draining swamp land. They will also see very clearly why the native forests that once stood between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico provided the absolute best hurricane protection for communities in South Louisiana.

Lower 9th Ward

Visit this part of the city and learn about the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Today, after years of recovery and rebuilding efforts, people along the Gulf Coast have made great strides in returning to life as usual even as they continue to rebuild.

Old New Orleans Rum

Old New Orleans Rum comes out of the back streets of the legendary Ninth Ward neighborhood. The founder, James Michalopoulos, is a renowned painter and sculptor who visually defines New Orleans. In 1995, James got together artists, brew masters, and a couple of clever engineers to create a locally produced masterpiece. Rum was a natural choice and they endeavored to keep it natural. It took years and an unbelievable number of batches that werent quite right until they finally crafted the exact profile that smiles and says lets celebrate!.

The House of Dance and Feathers

The House of Dance and Feathers is a cultural museum based on Ronald W. Lewis' participation in the culture of Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, and Skull and Bone Gangs. Their mission is to preserve and share this culture with the world, passing on their knowledge and traditions to the next generation.


This retreat will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


Angeline restaurant

Chef Alex Harrell brings a fresh, refined approach on southern cuisine to the French Quarter. Inspired by northern Mediterranean cuisines, Angeline offers a light, honest cooking style which highlights the intrinsic flavors of classic southern ingredients. Offering seasonal menu items, that pair perfectly with Angelines carefully curated wine and cocktail lists, this welcoming neighborhood eatery focuses on true hospitality and service, from pre-dinner cocktails to dessert.

Liuzza by the Track

At the restaurant, they go to great lengths to garlic stuff roast beef, roast turkeys, and slowly simmer corned beef. Liuzzas sausage is made locally with an own recipe and special seasonings are added to freshly formed hamburger patties. French fries are made fresh from real potatoes, and all seafood is fresh from local suppliers.

Morning Call

Appealing to an eclectic and colorful clientele, Morning Call offers a unique and traditional experience. The rich chicory coffee is brewed using the time tested French drip method which allows the coffee to build intensity and body. Whole milk is heated to a near boil then mixed with the coffee to form the quintessential caf au lait. The beignets, also referred to as French market donuts, are hand rolled and cut before being plunged into hot oil. The result is a light, delicate treat that is liberally dusted with powdered sugar and is well known as an irresistible New Orleans creation.

Mosquito Supper Club

Mosquito Supper Club is about celebrating Cajun culture. They curate events that celebrate Cajun music, food, and cultural traditions. Their supper club was created to celebrate the bounty of shrimpers, oyster fishermen, crabbers, and farmers that define this amazing cuisine. It mirrors afternoons at their grandmother's house. You are invited to take a seat at their table and celebrate what is so dear to them.

New Orleans Cooking Experience

When bon vivant Judy Jurisich decided to open the doors to the New Orleans Cooking Experience in 1994, it was the exquisite event of New Orleans cooking that she hoped to share with her guests. Judy, along with her friend and celebrated chef Frank Brigtsen, collaborated to design a residential-style kitchen with easily reproduced recipes and a stellar cast of local chefs.

Their philosophy is that learning to cook New Orleans-inspired food should be as much a feast for the eyes, nose, and mind as it is for the palate. Every unique lesson takes a sensory experience approach to cooking class, yet leaves the flour-covered hands and splattered apron to the chef.

Perched at the kitchen counter, close enough to stir a gumbo pot, you will enjoy unlimited wine, a four-course cooking demonstration, and tales of local lore and history spun by a famous New Orleans chef. Following the class, guests are guided through a historical tour of the 19th century Queen Anne-style home and then adjourn to the dining hall for a served, dinner-party style meal.

Paradigm Gardens

Paradigm Gardens is an urban farm in the heart of New Orleans. They supply produce for some of the best restaurants, host private dinner events for some of the best people, and provide a small music venue for some of the best artists in the city.

Pche Seafood Grill

Pche Seafood Grill, located at the corner of Magazine and Julia streets in the Warehouse District, serves simply prepared coastal seafood with a unique, modern approach to old world cooking methods. Featuring rustic dishes prepared on an open hearth over hardwood coals, Pches open kitchen offers a unique eye-level view of the fire. The oyster bar showcases gulf seafood including oysters, crabmeat, and fresh gulf fish. They want to create a unique New Orleans seafood restaurant using the traditions of live-fire cooking techniques experienced in the south and abroad.

The Joint

The Joint opened in 2004 on Poland Avenue in the historic Bywater District, east of downtown New Orleans. Since that time, it has developed a national reputation for some of the best barbecue around. It has been in top 10 BBQ lists in publications from Bon Apptit to Zagat. In July 2008, The Joint was featured in Guy Fieris Food Network program Diners, drive-ins, and dives.

Things to do (optional)

  • Cajun food tours
  • Downtown Lafayette walking tour
  • French market
  • Jackson Square
  • Local festivals in Lafayette
  • New Orleans Jazz Park
  • New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Swamp tours and canoeing at Saint Martin Lake

What's included

  • 1 hands-on cooking classes
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • All activities mentioned in the program
  • Donation to community gardens
  • Most meals
  • Taxes
  • Tips
  • Transfers during the program

What's not included

  • Airfare to and from New Orleans
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transfer to the hotel

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport to the location is Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).

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